An experience of a lifetime

Three young aviation enthusiasts have enjoyed a weekend of Air Force activities courtesy of the City of Albany.

CAPTION: Larni-Mai Ramsell, left, Luke Roecker and Heath Caldwell, from Albany, Western Australia, are provided a behind-the-scenes tour of RAAF Base Pearce. Story by Peta Magorian. Photo by Sergeant Gary Dixon.

Offered to those aged 12 to 18, the scholarship experiences were designed to give Albany career opportunities and build on the skills and abilities within the aviation sector.

The winners included 16-year-old Larni-Mae Ramsell, from Albany Senior High School, Luke Roecker, 14, from Great Southern Grammar, and Heath Caldwell, 13, also from Albany Senior High School.

The students, along with their guardians, began their weekend at RAAF Base Pearce, where they attended the No. 261 advanced pilot course graduation and toured the simulators.

Larni-Mae, a sergeant in the Albany Police Rangers and no stranger to parades, was impressed with the ceremony.

“It was amazing to be a part of the first graduation parade that the unit had for their centenary year. The aerobatics display at the beginning and the timed flypasts during the parade were amazing,” Larni-Mae said.

They also joined in on a special invitation-only event for youth and veterans that offered STEM activities with the Paper Pilots, virtual reality flight simulators, access to a PC-21 and Hawk 127 static display and a ride in the Air Force balloon.

Luke, who is training for his recreational pilot license, found the activities very interesting.

“The best part of the day was looking at the static planes in the hangar. This was really good because we got to look at the PC-21 and the Hawk up close and learn about them,” Luke said.

“Later we visited the Aviation Museum at RAAFA where we went into an actual Macchi fighter plane that was converted into a simulator which was a lot of fun.”

The final activity was access to the WA Day festivities at the Burswood Park, where the team at RAAF Base Pearce had a large display of equipment and personnel for the public to enjoy, including aerial displays from No. 2 Flying Training School and the CHC Rescue Helicopter.

Heath, who recently had his first flying lesson and whose dream job is to be a pilot in the Air Force was blown away by the weekend.

“This was an amazing experience which I will never forget and I am very grateful to the RAAF and the City of Albany for organising this for us,” Heath said.

“We enjoyed every activity whilst also learning lots about the air force, planes and aeronautics in general. It’s an experience that nobody could go through without wanting to join the Air Force.”

Base Liaison Officer for Air Force 2021 at RAAF Pearce Squadron Leader Mark Levitt assisted the City of Albany to create the experience.

He said the scholarship was a wonderful community engagement to promote future Air Force careers.

“It’s been amazing to share this experience with the Albany scholarship winners; they are the next generation of Air Force,” Squadron Leader Levitt said.

“We hope that the experiences this weekend further ignite the passion of these students as they pursue their aviation careers.”





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